Personal Prayer Poster
How can you encourage someone going through extreme circumstances and give them visual hope? When my friend Debbie was diagnosed with terminal cancer I enlisted people to pray for her. One praying friend, Gina, decided to make her prayers visual. She created a poster for Debbie and used it as a tool to pray for her and to encourage her. She included pictures of Debbie, meaningful scriptures, and Debbie’s ‘word for the year’-BELIEVE. When Debbue received it she proudly displayed it on her hospital wall and later at home.

Gina’s prayer poster also touched friends, family and coworkers who came to visit.

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Ingredients
Poster board or butcher paper
Markers, colored pencils & glue stick
Scriptures, pictures, words, favorite things

Instructions
Pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you creativity and to guide you
Personalize. Find out what the person likes. Sports? Butterflies? The ocean? Ask someone close to them or check out their facebook page.
Cut, copy & create. Cut pictures from magazines or used greeting cards or copy photos or free artwork from the internet. Or unleash your artist within and draw or paint.
Mail or hand deliver. (Before you do, make a copy or take a pic from your phone and keep it as a visual way to keep praying!)

Hopelifters http://hopelifters.com/

Dream Book
When you were a child, what did you imagine, play or dream about doing or becoming? What is the dream God planted in your heart? Are you embracing it, moving forward, stuck or do you feel as if your dream has died? What obstacles or opportunities are preventing you from pursing your big dream?

Change, challenges or transitions in life, is a great time to pause, pray and invite God to reveal His dream for your life. Every January I set aside time to getaway for intentional time with God to assess my life, roles and for A Time To Dream. Most years I invite a few women to join me for a weekend at a retreat home, but I’ve also enjoyed a personal get away. Armed with my Bible, my 3 ring notebook, page protectors, magazines, scrap book materials, markers, photos, or anything that inspires me, I rest, reflect, read the Word, and listen for God to speak to my heart. Each year I invite the Holy Spirit to inspire me with a theme word for the coming year and He always does.

Then I spent time creating a few pages for the new year in my dream book. A dream book is personal and may include words, pictures, places, Scriptures, or items that encourage you or communicate the desires of your heart. I look at it often and sometimes include my dream book as part of my daily devotional time.
Unleash your creativity and give yourself permission to dream or invite a friend to join you for time away to dream. Or…contact me and come with me for my weekend, A Time to Dream Retreat.

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Ingredients
Your Bible
A willing heart to hear from God
A serene setting (a cabin, friend’s home, or retreat center, )
3 ring notebook
Clear sheet protectors
Scissors, glue sticks, magazines, colored paper, colored markers, stickers.
Optional: Friends
Optional: The book, The Dream Giver

Hopelifters http://hopelifters.com/

Arizona Snowball Fight

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Ingredients
Marshmallows
Family
Friends

Instructions
I love snow but live in the Arizona Desert. One holiday, childhood memories flooded my mind of Midwest family, sledding and snowmen. God gave hope to my homesick heart through a simple bag of marshmallows in my pantry. I chuckled as I opened the bag and hurled an unsuspecting ball of fluff at my Midwest husband. Needless to say, our indoor snowball fight continued for several minutes and I laughed until I cried.
When family and friends came to visit, we often surprised them with our new tradition-An Arizona Snowball Fight. We’ve spread lots of hope through laughter and made many fun memories. (It’s also much cheaper than laser tag for a large family. ) Through the years we’ve purchased multiple bags of marshmallows, wrapped them and mailed them as Christmas gifts for out of state family or stressed out friends. We also keep a bag in our pantry, ready to spread hope to someone in need.
This recipe of hope is easy, inexpensive and portable. It’s guaranteed to bring a smile, laugh and create an unexpected or planned memory. For increased fun, buy a bag for each person on your list. Add your personal flavor by selecting teams, adding gear ( Tupperware or trash can lids make great shields) Or for serious snow ball competitors, purchase a marshmallow launcher. (Yes they do have marshmallow guns for sale similiar to a nerf gun).
Have unused leftovers? Add one marshmallow and a piece of chocolate between two grahm crackers, microwave for 10-20 seconds until melted and enjoy a sweet s’more treat.

Notes
Our mouths were filled with laughter,our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,“The LORD has done great things for them.” Psalm 126:2

Hopelifters http://hopelifters.com/

Give Thanks Pillow

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Ingredients
2 pieces of fabric cut into the size of your choosing. (or purchase pillow kit at fabric store)
2 inch strips cut around all four edges of fabric
Quilt batting for filling
Scriptures, memories or people or things you are thankful for
Your family or friends
Special note attached

Several years ago, our children and other students at the Christian school where they attended, made “Give Thanks” pillows. The students worked together in groups of four. After stuffing the batting between the 2 pieces of fabric, each student grasped a different side of the fabric to knot the 2 inch strips. As each student took a turn to tie a knot, he or she also said a prayer of thanks. Some students shared gratitude for a teacher, friend, parent or long distance family member while others prayed a Bible verse or shared a special memory. Some groups wrote their “thankful prayers” down on slips of paper and placed them inside the batting. By the time the pillows were completed the entire school was overflowing with gratitude. Many chose to give their “give thanks” pillow to people in need of encouragement or support: deployed military, grieving family members, missionaries, or people in the hospital. Our family kept one and gave me. Most attached this note to the completed pillow
“I might be just a pillow.
But what you may not see
are the many prayer and blessings
stuffed inside of me.
Made by prayer hearts and hands
In hopes that you will say
“Thank you Lord for now you love me,
Each and every day!”
So squeeze me tight or pass me on,
Either one will do
And don’t forget to “Give Thanks” for,
The goodness stuffed in you!”

Hopelifters http://hopelifters.com/

Prayer Box
Long Distance Family

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Ingredients
1 Small Box with a lid (decorate it if you like)
Slips of paper
Pen
Optional: 1 Small Box with a lid (matching yours to give to a family member or friend)

Instructions
I’ve discovered you can keep long distance loved ones close in heart with prayer. Prayer knows no boundaries. I purchased a small sequined gift box and transformed it into my prayer box. It sits on my desk as a daily reminder to pray for my far away family. Sometimes I write specific requests or scriptures on slips of paper and place them inside the box.
I bought my mom a matching prayer box like mine and when I visit her, we use hers, lift the lid and spend time praying for family members together.

Hopelifters http://hopelifters.com/

Beach Getaway

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Ingredients
Plastic bucket or beach pail
Picture or poster of the Beach
Tropical music or CD of Ocean Sounds
Beach Chair, Beach Towel, Beach Ball
Tropical scented Candle or hand lotion
Flip Flop shoes
Bag of Sand and seashells
Favorite beverage and snacks
Colored Tissue Paper
Card

Instructions
“I wish I could go to the beach.”
My grieving co-worker’s words were an answer to my prayer. I’d been asking God to show me how to encourage her in a special way after her recent loss of her mother. When I overheard her conversation with another co-worker I knew “The Beach” was God’s directive.
Later that day, I stopped by a discount store in search of anything beachy. To my surprise I found several inexpensive items and added more from my gift closet (extra gifts I buy on sale and keep for occasions when I need them) I added her favorite snacks and beverage to the cart.
The next morning I arrived early to work and left her bucket filled with her “Beach Bucket Surprise” on her desk with an anonymous card which read: Enjoy a day at the beach!
Although she never found out it was me who left the gift, I know my surprise brought her hope. (and still does) A few days later, I saw her sitting at her desk, smiling and looking at something on her desk. As I walked by, I saw it: A picture of the beach and a seashell.

Hopelifters http://hopelifters.com/

A Gift to Remember

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Ingredients
A person who has lost someone
The occasion or date that is difficult or meaningful
Prayer for meaningful ideas
A tangible gift, act of service, words, or activity to encourage the person.

Instructions
Celebrating and remembering loved ones can bring healing to our souls. When a special anniversary date or occasion approaches consider how you can could encourage living loved ones with a meaningful gift to let them know you didn’t forget.

Notes
One woman sent her widowed friend a dozen roses on her first anniversary without her husband.
A group of church friends pooled their resources to honor a grieving family and purchased a large quantity of Bibles for their youth group and placed personalized labels inside each with the deceased child’s name.
A niece surprised her elderly aunt on a special holiday when she showed up armed with the lost loved one’s favorite snacks and spent the afternoon munching, sharing memories, listening to nostalgic music and photo gazing.
One sister mailed all of her siblings a package that included their deceased mom’s handwritten recipe and all the ingredients to prepare her favorite meal.
An anonymous friend left a Mylar ballon and favorite scripture on the grave where a grieving mother visited.
One woman sent a text with the message “Thinking of you today as you remember your son.”
One mother wrote a story to honor her living children.

Hopelifters http://hopelifters.com/

Take A DAWG Day!

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Ingredients
A Specific Day
A Serene Setting

No Technolgy
Bible, Journal & pen
Favorite snacks/food
Blanket, lawn chair (optional, may depend on where you go)

Instructions
My friend was frazzled and facing uncertainty.
“Take a DAWG Day!” I directed.
DAWG Day? she asked. I could tell she didn’t get it.
“A…. Day…. Alone…. With…. God!” I said with a knowing smile.
Then I encouraged her to click on her calendar and schedule it for the next week, which she did. I assured her that her time would be well worth it, even if she felt she was too busy.
“Choose a serene setting that inspires you!” I said. We brainstormed possibilities: a park, a friend’s home while working, the zoo, a local church or a resort if she wanted to splurge.
“ Take your Bible, a journal and unplug from technology” I added.
I encouraged her to prepare for her time by releasing her expectations and by inviting God to lead her time. No agendas. Listen, read, write, rest, and be ready to record what you read, hear God speaking to your heart. I also encouraged her to jot down questions or concerns that she had and remove the clutter in her mind in order to embrace God’s peace and hear His voice.
A week later she called to tell me what an amazing experience her next DAWD DAY was already scheduled. Who do you know who needs a DAWG Day? Treat yourself or someone you know to one.

Hopelifters http://hopelifters.com/

Wait 3 Weeks
After my son died, I received a flood of cards, calls, meals and visits, at first. When week three arrived, everything changed. My relatives were gone. My phone stopped ringing. My mail box was empty. Yet, I still was grieving and needed encouragement. When my friend Jacque announced she would not be coming to the memorial service, but flying to see me a month later, I didn’t understand at first, but looking back now, I’m grateful she waited. Her delay was God’s perfect timing for her to spread hope to my hurting heart.

Wait 3 weeks” has become my personal timing to encourage someone who is grieving the loss of a loved one. You may choose to wait four or six weeks, that’s okay. Ask God to show you His perfect timing for you to respond. Then, do it. It may be just the time when others have forgotten.

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Ingredients
Your Calendar
Your Phone, a card and a stamp, a meal, or a personal visit
Prayer

Hopelifters http://hopelifters.com/